Arguments about fitness and fatness

If you’re fit, then you’re thin

You’re not thin

So you aren’t fit.

That’s usually the way it goes. It’s a pretty good argument as arguments go. It’s valid. The reasoning works just fine.

The truth of premise one is questionable but that’s been the subject of a few posts. See here and here and here and here.

And so when people recognize that I’m not thin they think I’m new at the fitness activity in question. People mistake me for a beginner, someone who is out of shape etc. While I’m not an elite athlete and I’m always trying to get fitter, faster, stronger, I’m far from a beginner.

Sometimes I think that’s one of my motivations for trying to be leaner. I want people to recognize me, to see me for who I am. I actually think that’s a lousy reason but I detail some of my better reasons here.

I’m always amused when people who see that I’m fit and believe that “fit= thin” reduce the cognitive dissonace the other way, by claiming I’m not not fat/large/big whatever. This usually happens when someone is committed to the fit-thin reasoning but is forced to confront my fitness. Something has to give so it’s the belief about my size.

Recently it was a debate about competing in the Clydesdale/Athena category at a triathlon. But that’s not your category, said the acquaintance. The cut off is 150 lbs, I said. I thought this would just end the debate.

I actually think about half the women competing could be in that category if they wanted to be. Unlike rowing, it’s optional. There’s no lightweight category. It’s either the open/competitive category or Athena and so very few women use it. It’s a problem. See Why is the Athena category so useless?

The debate continued with further insistence that I wasn’t fat, big, large whatever, that I was normal sized. Fine. Sure. Depending on your definition of plus sized, I don’t wear plus sized clothing. I’m a pretty solid size 12 but I’m more than 150 lbs, lots more in fact.

I’ve got an ambivalent relationship with the term “fat” but it’s pretty clear to me that I’m a big person.

The discussion ended with the person surprised I wouldn’t take the compliment. Funny.

People want to hang on to false premise #1, the one that equates thinness and fitness so they argue with me about my size. I mostly don’t care. But it fascinates me the length people will go to to hang on to premise 1.


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